Davis Autism Approach
Overview by Lorna Timms,
Director Davis Autism International
Within the Davis Autism Approach, in our aim for
simplicity, we have chosen to use ‘Autism’ as the umbrella term for
Autism, Asperger Syndrome (AS), High Functioning Autism (HFA) or
Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). We
hope this is acceptable to you.
Autism Approach is a non-invasive, gentle approach designed to allow
autistic individuals to participate more fully in life.
This one-on-one program can be conducted by a
Davis Autism Approach Facilitator or by a parent or loved one who can be
trained and mentored by a Davis Autism Facilitator-Coach.
The program incorporates
many of Ron Davis’ “tried and trusted” methods which have been used
successfully worldwide over the past 28 years assisting those with
Ron Davis has been working
successfully with autistic individuals throughout this time and has now
made this work accessible to others through the Davis Autism Approach.
Changes in our autistic clients are monitored by use of well
established questionnaires completed by parents/carers before and
after the program. All personal data is treated confidentially. Early
results indicate the area most likely to change is social skills.
Davis Autism Approach is a three-part program:
Firstly: Individuation - Creating an awareness of self.
Individuation is what takes
place during early childhood development when a child becomes aware
that he is a separate individual, with opinions and feelings that are
different from those held by others. We usually see this taking place by
the time a child is two, and has developed a sense of himself as an
individual, has a mind of his own, and thus, rejects suggestions or
requests made by others. We refer to this as the “terrible twos”, even
though we know it is a healthy and desired developmental step! Children
with autism either fail to complete this step in development, or regress
after beginning down the path.
To ensure this process has been completed and we have our starting point we use a two-part process.
Firstly, we assist the individuals to become oriented
to the world. They need to have brought all of their senses into
alignment so they are aware of their environment and their perceptions
of the world are accurate. We use a variety of orientation methods, auditory, visual or kinesthetic, depending upon the individual's strengths.
Then we assist the individual to create a model, which can represent them in the next part of the process.
Secondly: Identity Development - Exploring ‘life’s natural lessons'.
Identity development refers
to the learning that normally takes place as children grow and learn
concepts that help them to understand how the world works and how they
work. When individuals are disoriented much of the time, they do not learn or fully comprehend many of these basic concepts, these 'life-lessons',
and so they do not have a good or complete understanding of how things
work, and how they fit into the world. For example, they may not
understand about change or consequence,
and so continue to repeat the same behaviors, expecting a different
outcome. They may not understand “authority”, and so refuse to accept
any authority except their own desires, much as a very young child
Identity development provides a sense of self, and one’s place in the real world of cause and effect.
There are approximately 30 concepts, which are addressed throughout this stage, starting with 'change’ and ending with 'responsibility’.
‘life concepts’ are explored at a pace that is comfortable for the
individual both conceptually and environmentally. We say “one concept
per day” as a general guide. However, this can be sped up or spread out
over many months, as required.
Each concept is introduced by creating a model in plastalina clay.
The concept is then explored in the environment, looking
for and gaining understanding through experiencing real world examples.
When a concept has been fully integrated we can move on to
the next, as we have created a solid foundation for the new knowledge.
We have experienced great success with individuals who
are diagnosed as high functioning autistics. However, with patience and
empathy, a way forward can be found for those with limited language and
motor skills once the orientation methods have been integrated.
Thirdly: Social Integration - Relationship Concepts.
Social integration is the
final area to be addressed. Once a person has a sense of his place in
the world, he is ready to begin the task of understanding how
relationships work and learning how he can fit into the world of people.
This is the final stage in the Davis Autism Approach Program. Again
these concepts are explored through creating clay models, followed by
matching them to life experience.
A list of Licensed Davis Autism Approach Facilitators can be found at www.davisautism.com
"Davis Autism Approach® is a trademark of Ronald D. Davis.
Commercial use of this trademark to identify educational, instructional or therapeutic services requires licensing by the trademark owner. "